Lives in Granbury, Texas.

mark.finkelstein@gmail.com 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
September 29, 2015, 7:36 AM EDT

Good ol' Mike Barnicle dutifully carried Dem water this morning, maintaining a straight face while calling Hillary Clinton a "strong" candidate.  But also on the Morning Joe set was Nicolle Wallace, who reported that "Democrats think she's terrible. I hope [Biden] doesn't run, because he's better than her."

For good measure, Mark Halperin opined that Biden might want to wait until February, on the theory that if Bernie Sanders beats Hillary in Iowa or New Hampshire, "there'll be panic," or as Wallace put it, "pandemonium."

September 28, 2015, 6:48 PM EDT

Wait a second: wasn't it just this month that Hillary's handlers announced they were going to have her show a warm 'n fuzzy side, with more "heart?" So who was the genius who coached Clinton to announce that as president she would "impose much harsher restrictions" on financial institutions under Dodd-Frank?

She'll "impose much harsher restrictions?" Brr! Isn't that the Stone Cold Hillary Clinton whose image was being re-engineered?  Clinton made her "much harsher" comment in remarks aired on today's debut episode of MTP Daily in response to Chuck Todd's question as to where she differs from President Obama.

September 28, 2015, 9:02 AM EDT

Don't put that popcorn-popper away just yet . . . On today's Morning Joe, Chuck Todd said he felt that in his Meet the Press interview of Hillary Clinton yesterday, she was signalling to her Dem supporters that there could be more damaging revelations to come on the email scandal.

Todd was alluding to the moment in the interview in which Hillary agreed with his characterization of a "drip, drip, drip" aspect to the scandal.  When Todd asked whether she could "reassure Democrats that there's nothing else here," Hillary's answer was a very un-reassuring "there's only so much I can control."

September 26, 2015, 7:26 AM EDT

Hillary Clinton: bravest person in America? You betcha! But don't take my word for it. Here's John Podesta, Chair of Hillary for America, in an email sent out this morning: "If anyone else faced the constant barrage of insults and attacks that Hillary endures everyday, they would quickly and happily squirrel away in a cabin hidden somewhere in the Rockies. Not Hillary. Her default setting is resilience."

Huh: that's funny. I can think of millions of Americans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other insalubrious locales who didn't run and hide despite facing "barrages of attacks" that some might say were even worse than the slings and arrows poor Hillary has suffered.

September 23, 2015, 9:28 PM EDT

To quote the Church Lady: isn't that conv-e-e-e-e-nient?

On Chris Hayes' MSNBC show tonight, Dem congressman Luis Gutierrez claimed that while he was "challenged" by the Catholic church's teachings on abortion and gay rights and found them "difficult" [but not difficult enough to change his standard liberal positions], no one can really argue the Pope's positions on illegal immigration and income inequality.

September 21, 2015, 9:08 AM EDT

Hillary's standard shtick when asked about her private email server is to claim that it was "authorized" or "allowed" by the State Department.  But Joe Scarborough has now contradicted her in stunning fashion.

On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough criticized John Dickerson for not challenging Hillary on the matter when interviewing her yesterday on Face the Nation. Said Scarborough: "CBS News knows if they have any sources at the State Department, CBS News knows that nobody at the State Department based on all of our sources at the State Department, nobody authorized it. She did it on her own."

September 21, 2015, 7:58 AM EDT

Bloomberg's John Heilemann was a rather reluctant witness. But when called on to testify, so to speak, he confirmed a stunning fact: that during the 2008 presidential race, it was Hillary Clinton who started the rumor that Barack Obama might not be a Christian. The matter arose Monday's Morning Joe. Scarborough ripped Hillary's hypocrisy for criticizing Republicans who question Obama's religion, "when it all started with her and her campaign passing things around in the [2008] Democratic primary." Asked to confirm, Heilemann tersely said "it was the case."

September 18, 2015, 9:35 PM EDT

Maybe next week, Chris Hayes will share his views on Area 51, whether fire can melt steel, and if the moon landing happened in a Hollywood studio . . .

On his MSNBC show this evening, Hayes floated the notion that the guy at a New Hampshire town hall who told Donald Trump that President Obama is a Muslim might have been a plant. According to Chris, although the moment seemed to have happened "organically"  [yes, but was it free range?], "who knows?" Proclaimed Chris: "until they find the guy I'm going to reserve judgment on the origins of the question."

September 18, 2015, 9:24 AM EDT

This NewsBuster is a paid subscriber and regular listener to Hugh Hewitt's podcasts, and believes that Hugh is the ablest conservative interviewer on radio. So it was surprising to see him serve as such a loyal CNN soldier on today's Morning Joe.

Hewitt, a member of the CNN panel at Wednesday's GOP debate, refused to complain about the paltry opportunities he was given to question the candidates. And defending the fact that Donald Trump had been given twice Scott Walker and Mike Huckabee's airtime, Hewitt said that while "unfortunate," Jake Tapper had done a "marvelous" job of allocating time. That was too much for Mika Brzezinski, who bluntly told Hewitt: "I guess you're probably uncomfortable being honest about this."  Mika's skepticism is on vivid display in the screengrab.

September 17, 2015, 9:04 AM EDT

It's one thing for conservatives to concur that Carly Fiorina was outstanding at last night's debate.  But to hear a string of superlatives about Fiorina coming from committed liberal Mika Brzezinski was breathtaking.

Over the course of today's Morning Joe, a stream of praise for Fiorina flowed from Mika, capped by this: "my God, I have never seen anyone like her. Ever."

September 16, 2015, 6:54 AM EDT

We've got more than a year to go before the election. Even so, Steve Rattner has made a strong bid for most unusual metaphor of the political season.

On today's Morning Joe, Rattner said that when it comes to the email matter, Hillary needs to "open the kimono." Rattner, a Hillary supporter, went on to suggest that she turn over the server and take questions at length from reporters, as Chris Christie did regarding Bridgegate

September 15, 2015, 8:29 AM EDT

Like someone looking for the first robin of Spring, this NewsBuster has been on the prowl for the first media person to suggest that Hillary Clinton is going to have to quit the race. 

Joe Scarborough didn't go quite that far, but let's just say his shirtfront was taking on a distinctly robin-red hue on today's Morning Joe. After lambasting her "dismal" performance on the stump, Scarborough--quoting an unidentified panel member--said that Hillary is "getting into Rick Perry 2012 territory right now."

September 14, 2015, 9:13 AM EDT

Mika Brzezinski: fired up and ready to go . . . for Donald Trump? Not exactly. It isn't that Mika's jumping on the Make America Great Again express.  It's just that she wants "intellectual honesty" from her peers when it comes to admitting that Trump has gone from amusing sideshow who's sure to eventually crash to true frontrunner who is now likely to be the Republican nominiee.

You might not think of Brzezinski as being particularly data-driven, but on today's Morning Joe she repeatedly argued that there is no data supporting a Trump meltdown scenario. Going around the table with the question of whether it was "likely" or not that Trump would be the Republican nominee, she, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist were in the "likely" column.  Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Examiner was at 50-50.  The only naysayer was Bloomberg's John Heilemann, who opined it was unlikely Trump would be the nominee.

September 11, 2015, 8:34 PM EDT

A few months ago, I took some flack in these quarters for suggesting that, his annoying liberalism aside, Chris Matthews is in his heart an American patriot.

That same patriotic proclivity displayed itself tonight. On the anniversary of 9-11, Matthews profusely praised his guest Rudy Giuliani for his leadership on that day.  And in a spontaneous aside, Matthews called RFK's assassin, the Palestinian Sirhan B. Sirhan, "the first terrorist."Can you imagine Rachel Maddow—or Barack Obama for that matter—doing the same?

September 11, 2015, 6:59 AM EDT

This could get entertaining . . . Mark Halperin says that, faced with plunging poll numbers, Hillary's only hope of victory is to "win ugly."

Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Halperin explained that by "win ugly" he means drawing invidious comparisons with her opponents, such as emphasizing that Bernie Sanders is a socialist and Trump a billionaire developer.  Should we prepare for the Hillary Red Scare? "I have here in my hand a list of 205 socialists in the Sanders campaign!"

September 10, 2015, 9:10 AM EDT

The occasional dust-ups between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on the Morning Joe set seem largely made-for-TV. But there appeared to be some authentic antagonism on today's show on the issue of the motivations of those who oppose the Iran deal.

Joe passionately condemned supporters of the deal who cynically suggest that opponents are controlled by the Jewish lobby. "Why don't you guys talk about the Elders of Zion?" suggested Scarborough sarcastically at one point.  When Mika tried to shut Scarborough down, claiming "we get the point," Scarborough shot back "you're the last person on the face of the earth who appears to get the point."  Later, Mika walked right into it, saying that in opposing the deal, Chuck Schumer "did what he had to do, and it's perfect for him." Scarborough pounced: "there you go. There's the cynicism I talked about."

September 9, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT

John Heilemann has saluted his next President and Commander-in-Chief: Hillary Clinton.

On today's With All Due Respect, commenting on Hillary's remarks on the Iran deal at the Brookings Institution and Donald Trump and Ted Cruz's comments at a rally, Heilemann declared "there is exactly one potential president in that group, and that president is Hillary Rodham Clinton . . . Everything she said sounded like Commander-in-Chief. The other two sounded like showboating clowns."

September 9, 2015, 8:09 AM EDT

My mother had a saying about heeding warnings from others: "if one person tells you you're drunk, ignore him.  If two people tell you you're drunk, lie down."  So what should Hillary Clinton do when the entire Morning Joe panel tells her that her supposed apology on ABC last night was a total bust?

From Joe Scarborough saying it looked like a "hostage video," to John Heilemann saying her apology proved that everything she had said about no one caring about the issue was a "lie," to Mika Brzezinski speaking of the "freakish" control exercised by the Clinton camp, to Willie Geist flatly contradicting Hillary's assertion that her actions were "allowed," the panning of Hillary's performance was unanimous.  

September 8, 2015, 8:12 PM EDT

Maybe Biden can do one of those DirectTV ads: "Hi, I'm Joe Biden.  And I'm Creepy Joe Biden" . . . 

On this evening's Hardball, Cook Report editor Amy Walter revealed that during a South Carolina event, Joe Biden kissed her mother, who had never before met him, on the lips. Walter said that her mother's reaction was "okay well, there we go." Chris Matthews flew to Biden's defense: "that's a very Philly thing [Biden's not from Philly]. Nothing wrong with it. Just very direct and very loving." Need we say that if a Republican candidate had smooched an unsuspecting woman on the lips, the calls for his immediate withdrawal from the race would be echoing through the MSM halls?  Bob Packwood, anyone?

September 8, 2015, 8:34 AM EDT

In her "heart?"  Some cynical lawyerly types might say that presupposes a fact not in evidence . . . 

Is Harold Ford, Jr. auditioning for an appointment in a hoped-for Hillary administration?  On Morning Joe of late, he's trying out a variety of dubious defenses.  Last week, his line was that although Americans might see her as a "liar" and "dishonest," nobody thinks she's "unpatriotic."  Today, he claimed that "in her heart" Hillary didn't intend to violate the law.